User-generated content (UGC) is everywhere. It’s all over social media platforms, and it shows up in ad campaigns ranging from digital marketing campaigns to TV spots to billboards.
And there's a good reason for it: UGC videos work.
93% of marketers believe consumers trust UGC more than brand-created content, and it’s easy to see how content featuring real people interacting with products in real ways can make an impact on purchasing decisions and conversion rates.
Creating UGC isn’t difficult — but creating and managing a successful UGC video campaign? That’s a bit more complicated.
Let’s dive into the world of user-generated video content, starting with the basics and moving into actionable tips for creating your own UGC video campaigns.
What Is User-Generated Content (UGC)?
User-generated content is any form of content (photos, videos, social media posts, etc.) promoting a brand and created by users, not by the brand itself. These users may include everyday customers, influencers, brand ambassadors, and paid UGC creators.
In an algorithm-driven video-forward age, user-generated content has exploded in popularity because it gives brands a chance to break into new networks in a way other marketing efforts can’t.
One basic example of UGC is branded hashtag campaigns (like #RedCupChallenge or #LiveLaCroix), where users submit photos or videos of themselves enjoying a product.
Looking for more UGC inspiration? Check out these 10 can’t-miss UGC examples.
Who Creates UGC for Brands?
At first glance, the answer to this question seems obvious enough: “Users” is right there in the name. But look a little closer, and you’ll find a wide variety of individuals and groups passionate about brand representation who create UGC for brands like yours.
The classic category of UGC is content that comes from your customers themselves. Satisfied customers often turn into promoters who share their positive experiences — especially when brands encourage them to do so.
The biggest benefit of customer-generated UGC is its authenticity. It feels real because it is. The biggest drawback is quality control: Your customers won’t all produce videos and photos of the same quality.
In addition to customer-created content, you may also want to invest in content from UGC creators. These are individuals who specialize in creating this kind of content for multiple brands.
The biggest advantage of this kind of UGC is consistency and/or quality. UGC creators know what they’re doing in terms of lighting, audio, framing, and so forth, so you’re guaranteed to get visually high-quality UGC. They also tend to know what brands want (and they have the ability to follow a creative brief), meaning you can get UGC that does what you need it to do.
The biggest drawback is that UGC creators don’t come with their own networks, so it’s up to the brand to get this content in front of potential customers.
Shoppable videos are one example. Successful shoppable videos need to feature the right products in the right ways, and that’s something UGC creators can do. Gander is the perfect platform for creating videos that turn UGC into shoppable content.
Brand ambassadors actively promote a brand due to their genuine love for the brand (or a formal partnership). They leverage their existing audience (whether it’s social media followers, podcast listeners, or any number of other avenues) and share genuine insights and recommendations.
Not sure about the difference between brand ambassadors and influencer marketing? Brand ambassadors tend to have a longer-term relationship with the brand, whether out of love for the brand, contractual payments, or a combination of the two. They also tend to be well-known figures or even celebrities with substantial followings. It’s common for brand ambassadors to be genuine product users as well (for example, health supplement company Athletic Greens partners only with people who already use their product).
Influencers, on the other hand, tend to have a shorter-term relationship with a brand and are more often “mercenaries” who have not necessarily used the product beforehand.
They provide a more targeted approach to audience-building. While they won’t have the cachet or the reach of a celebrity brand ambassador, they will have an audience with a cohesive set of interests (whereas celebrities tend to have much broader audiences).
So, by partnering with influencers in a given space or market, brands can reach smaller but much more targeted audiences.
One last category of UGC is employee-generated UGC. This often-overlooked category can offer a behind-the-scenes look into a company and show off the commitment and authenticity of individual employees.
Employee-generated content (when it’s genuine) has a high degree of authenticity and can generate an outsized amount of consumer trust.
Top 3 Benefits of Choosing Video for UGC
UGC takes several forms and comes from several types of creators. So why choose video UGC for your brand?
Here are the top three benefits we’ve found.
Videos capture attention and keep audiences engaged longer than static content. It’s easy to scroll past a photo without engaging with it at all, but autoplay videos are harder to ignore.
Not only that, but video content also resonates with viewers on an emotional level in a way that other content can’t. Seeing real people engaging with a product or brand makes an impact — especially when the products are making a tangible or visible difference in the person’s life.
Video can also be incredibly powerful as an informational tool. Videos can convey complex information in an easily digestible format, from tutorials to product demos and more.
This kind of informative video content is crucial for all sorts of products. If your brand sells products people wear, put on, use, or interact with, video could be the missing link.
Written product descriptions are important, but they only go so far, especially if your product is unfamiliar. A quick, low-budget video can show, not tell, a product in action and convey far more information more quickly.
Third, impactful video content has a viral quality. When a video catches on, that viral effect can be a powerful way to amplify a message.
As a piece of UGC video gets shared, shared, and shared again, so does the brand within that video. Especially for eCommerce businesses using UGC, this shareability is a powerful, virtually free way to reach unreached audiences with your brand, message, and products.
How To Create Your Own UGC Through Video
We’re big believers in the power of UGC video and UGC ads. And as easy and affordable as UGC can be, the most successful campaigns do require some strategy and planning.
Use these tips to cultivate UGC that can propel your brand forward and help you reach new audiences.
Choose the Right Type of Video Campaign
First, evaluate the various types of video campaigns and determine which one makes the most sense for your brand (and for the topic of the campaign, if you’ve already settled on one).
A few types of content to consider:
- Video challenges
- Product reviews
- Unboxing videos
- Behind-the-scenes content (e.g., “get ready with me” videos)
Depending on the goals of your campaign, one of these formats might be better suited than the rest. For example, if your main objective is building general brand awareness, a viral video challenge has the potential to spread your brand like crazy. But an in-depth review of a single product? Not so much.
Conversely, if your goal is to increase conversions on a product page, a viral ice-bucket challenge isn’t going to do much at all. But a testimonial or product review video could deliver the kind of social proof your audience needs.
Partner With UGC Creators
Next, while relying on your own users for UGC is a viable strategy, sometimes it pays to work with established UGC creators, too. These creators can be a great way to prime the pump, showing your actual users the kind of content you’re looking for. Established creators also tend to deliver results with a reliable (and high) level of quality, which can be useful when turning UGC into full-fledged UGC ads.
Gander is your home for all things UGC video related. The platform is perfect for editing and hosting video content, including UGC. Plus, Gander maintains an extensive network of established UGC creators you can tap into as much as you need.
Want to see what Gander looks like in action? Check out our interactive demo site.
Create a Video Brief (or Multiple Briefs) for Creators
When you’re working with established creators (including influencers and brand ambassadors), make sure those creators are working from a clear video brief. Having a clear directive for content creators helps ensure you get the results you’re looking for, not videos that highlight the wrong things or even run counter to the campaign you’re seeking to run.
Key components of an effective video brief include these:
- Objectives: What should this video accomplish?
- Target audience: Who is this video for?
- Messaging: What (if any) specific messaging goals does the brand have?
- Content/products: What specific products should be featured?
You may also want to include some details about video platforms. Where the content appears (Instagram Reels, YouTube videos, TikTok videos) could change the setup or formatting requirements, as each media channel has its own guidelines.
Pro tip: Content briefs can help general users who want to submit content, too — as long as you keep it, well, brief!
Focus on Engaging the Audience
Successful UGC must go beyond mere show-and-tell. It’s got to do more than merely showcase a product (although showcasing your product is a must!).
In addition to this, it must resonate with and activate its audience.
This starts with helping audiences envision themselves using the product. And it goes deeper when you foster engagement by asking questions or leveraging interactive features.
Gander’s interactive video features let you embed quizzes, CTA forms, buttons, and more into video content, including UGC, helping you engage customers at scale.
Be Clear About Your Goals
Last, make sure your brand is taking a strategic approach to UGC creation, an approach where clear objectives guide content creation and evaluation.
In other words, be clear (internally and with any creator partners) about what you want your UGC to accomplish, how you’ll evaluate the content, and how you’ll know whether the content was successful.
Use Gander To Create UGC Videos To Boost Your Brand
Launching and managing a UGC campaign is easier with Gander. With our platform, you can create high-quality interactive video content that you can embed on your website in just a few clicks!
Plus, with a large network of vetted content creators, Gander can provide the talent to get your UGC video campaign off the ground.
Simple shoppable and interactive videos, easy site embedding, and UGC creator talent on demand, all made possible by Gander. Request your free custom demo now!